Junior center fielder Morgan Howe was one of the Sun Devils after the series loss to Arizona who said the team would come out with a new fire. On Saturday, Howe found herself in the game’s biggest moment and delivered.
She cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the fifth inning that put Arizona State (37-9, 11-6 Pac-12) up by three against Utah (20-24, 2-15) and help guide them to a 7-2 victory in Salt Lake City.
The bases were loaded for Howe in a 1-1 game as the freshman second baseman Bella Loomis walked, junior third baseman Taylor Becerra singled and freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson reached on an error. The center fielder found the right-center gap and everyone kept on running.
The bats started to get rolling after Howe’s triple. Gibson later singled in Becerra, who tripled before in the seventh inning to extend the lead to four. Gibson came in to score herself later in the inning as senior designated player Marisa Stankiewicz hit a two-run home run for her eighth dinger of the year.
The first Sun Devils’ run came from the starter behind the plate. Freshman catcher Rylee Maston collected her first colligate RBI when she brought in sophomore Jade Gortarez on a fielder’s choice.
Meanwhile, the senior in the circle, right-handed pitcher Breanna Macha kept the Utes’ offense from getting in a grove. Macha went all seven innings for Arizona State, allowing just two runs on seven hits and fanning five Ute batters.
This is Macha’s first conference victory since March 25 when she came on in relief against California. That isn’t all on the senior though as in her as in last three Pac-12 starts combined she’s given up five unearned runs and only had four runs in support from her offense. Saturday’s victory can be seen as a sign of relief having a clean defense behind her and the bats providing seven runs.
The Sun Devils will go for their second conference sweep of the season on Sunday against the Utes at 11 a.m. MT. Expect sophomore left-handed pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez to be in the circle for Arizona State, but don’t be surprised if senior right-handed pitcher Dale Ryndak gets the start.